Commencement | Benedictine College

Commencement 2020 Postponed

This message was sent to the Class of 2020 on July 2, 2020.

Dear Class of 2020,

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that your Commencement is once again postponed. Recent developments in the State of Kansas and Atchison County have made it impossible to proceed with our Commencement in July as we had hoped. The decision to cancel the July 25 event was based upon the latest guidance from the Atchison County Health Department, which will not approve gatherings as large as Commencement at this time.

While we are all disappointed, we can certainly understand their concern. Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Atchison County and there is now community spread. Hospitalizations are up and the county is not in a position to deal with an outbreak of any real magnitude. Kansas has made it mandatory that everyone in the state wear face masks when in close proximity, and the state has imposed 14-day quarantines on people coming from High Risk states—which currently stands at six states but will no doubt grow, which already impacted the ability of some of you to attend.

All of this finally came to a head in a rather sudden turn-about on Wednesday. Within 24 hours, we went from preparing an exciting message about the specifics of the individual events, to this disappointing message about cancellation. The College staff, who have been as excited as you to have this event, has poured an enormous number of hours into planning and communication for what is normally one of the largest and most jubilant campus events each year. We had hoped that moving Commencement all the way to the end of July and in the middle of the summer when flu-like viruses are less transmitted would put us in a good position to pull the event off. Unfortunately, the mitigating factors have not been enough.

We know you are disappointed, and we feel so bad about it. In March I committed to you a Senior Week, Senior Brunch, March of Light, Baccalaureate and Commencement.  And now I have to tell you that what we planned cannot happen in July.  Please know that the College remains committed to finding a way to celebrate the culmination of your time at Benedictine College. We want to recognize your achievement and we want you to have the chance to enjoy each other’s company one last time and properly say goodbye to the place you called home for four years.

We will continue to look for an alternative, but everything is subject to the COVID-19 virus and ever-changing federal and local guidelines. I wish I had a better idea what the next step will be for you, but the decision happened so fast and we needed to tell you as soon as we knew. We will update you later about your diplomas, honor cords, Discovery Scholar medals, and other details.

The Class of 2020 will always be special in our hearts and in our memories. You have gone through things no other graduating class has ever had to deal with. I am so proud of you. My prayers and the prayers of all of us at the College go with you as you move on in your careers, your post-graduate education, or whatever path you choose.

Forward. Always Forward,

Stephen D. Minnis
President, Benedictine College